The first inkling I had that I would be battling the urge to divorce my husband for the majority of our tenure as parents was on the morning of our son’s birth.
As many will know, after you have heroically gestated for nine months and then literally brought forth life, you are given tea and toast in the hospital. It sounds anticlimactic on paper but believe me, it’s not. It is quite literally the greatest tea and toast that you will ever consume in your life. The hardest earned breakfast you will ever taste. You know where this is going right? After I’d laboured for six hours and had even cut the infant’s goddamn umbilical cord, The Man intercepted my celebratory meal and ate the toast and drank the tea. If I hadn’t been holding a literally minutes-old baby who was quite slippery and easily dropped, I would have lunged for him.
Over the next few days and weeks, the feeling that I might want to cause The Man bodily harm revisited me frequently. Luckily for him, I was mostly always holding the child, or the child was feeding off me like some kind of adorable parasite or I was just too tired to attack him.
A Practical 7-Step Guide To Not Getting A Divorce After Having Your First Baby
Disclaimer: This guide should not replace counseling (or wine) for dealing with marital strife.
Remember you need each other. You NEED each other. When the shit hits the fan which it will, on a near-hourly basis with an infant around, you will need them. When they panic in the shops and buy all eight different types of biscuit that you demanded but forget to bring wine, do not forget that you need them.
Start overreacting to low-grade stuff. Seriously reeeeeally low-grade stuff. Keep experimenting with how far you can take a fight over who last changed the baby’s nappy. My personal best on the nappy-rage was 6-8 hours. That is some impressive stonewalling.
Spend a lot of your waking hours ruminating on tiny irritants about the other person. This is especially effective because, as a person with a newborn, you actually have exponentially more waking hours than the average person so something fairly unimportant (the fact that they NEVER sterilise the baby bottles) can take on levels of anger ordinarily reserved for a far greater betrayal.
Hate them for sleeping.
Hate them for existing.
Never ever stop bringing up the fact you were the one who generously GREW their child inside YOUR body. Seriously never let this go – they will make the tea and take out the bins forever, this is non-negotiable.
One day, look at them, I mean really look at your co-parent. At some stage, maybe about nine months in, you’ll take a moment to appreciate that the guy that you met on a sixth year holiday in Ayia Napa in 2002 is now patiently pacing the floors of your house soothing a crying baby and happily tolerating six hours of a YouTube white noise compilation and your hormonal tears. You can still hate them when they sleep through the 4am crying jag but you’ve got to appreciate that in the space of a year you have weathered a sweet-smelling bomb being hurled into your relationship. Having a child is like being in a survival situation pretty much constantly. The first year of babyhood is like a war zone of colic, various fluids, screaming, and debilitating exhaustion and if you can weather it, seeing your partner grow up and become a parent is funny, surprising, endearing and life-affirming. This might be the hormones talking (I’m in the first year of our second baby) but caring for the beautiful loin-fruit is the single greatest thing you’ll ever do together